Circuit type: Temporary street course
Designed as the showpiece finale event for the Australian Supercars Championship, Newcastle's street course has replaced the event around Sydney's Olympic Park as one of New South Wales' major events.
Newcastle is NSW's second most populous city, and is located 160 kilometres north of the capital, Sydney. The city beat off a rival bid from Gosford - further down the coast towards the state capitol - to secure the prestigious date.
Debuting in 2017, the circuit is set in the picturesque eastern district of the city taking in local landmarks such as Nobbys Beach, Fort Scratchley and the Harbour Foreshore. The pit lane, team garages and corporate hospitality facilities are centred on Wharf Road, adjacent to Foreshore Park and the former tug berths in Newcastle Harbour, with the rest of the circuit winding through several residential areas and local parkland - creating a certain amount of controversy locally.
Opponents of the race were unhappy with the amount of parkland that was due to see redevelopment. In response to the feedback, the initial plans - first revealed in September 2016 - were revised at the end of the year, with the section through Pacific Park eliminated altogether (removing the need to bulldoze a new road through its centre) and also solving a potential future problem as the area is earmarked for construction activity for Newcastle's proposed light rail system.
Instead the circuit now continues up Watt Street to the intersection with Shortland Esplanade where drivers will make a left turn to run down alongside Newcastle Beach to Zaara Street, while the end of the lap has also been redesigned and simplified, to create a horseshoe-shaped hairpin as opposed to the more extensive multi-apex turn complex of the original plans.
These changes were probably midly beneficial in terms of the raceability of the track, although, while undoubtedly picturesque and featuring some elevation changes, there are considerable portions of the track which are narrow and don't easily promote side-by-side action.
The first event took place in November 2017 and saw a title showdown unfold between Red Bull Holden Racing's Jamie Whincup and DJR Team Penske's Scott McLaughlin and three other drivers who were in mathmatical contention. Despite securing the title lead in race one, a chaotic Sunday race saw McLaughlin hit with three penalties, ulitmately helping to hand the title to Whicup.
It was tables turned the following year, when McLaughlin secured the title at the last round, with a win in the Saturday race and a second place in Sunday's event, aided by intitial Sunday victor Shane van Gisbergen being stripped of the win and demoted to fifth for a pit lane violation.
For 2019, the track was modified following feedback from drivers and a review of the circuit design by Supercars’ engineering partner iEDM and consultant Mark Skaife. To aid overtaking, theTurn 11 hairpin was made into a sharper corner, with the apex pushed deeper into the run-off and extending the track length by 12 metres. Resurfacing work was also undertaken ahead of the 2019 event to provide more grip for drivers.
The Newcastle Street Circuit is located in the eastern district of the city of the same name in New South Wales, Australia. Newcastle Airport is around 25-minutes north of the city at Williamtown, with five airlines providing connections from Brisbane, the Gold Coast Sydney, Canberra and and Melbourne.
Newcastle is a pretty easy place to navigate. There are two major roads that lead into the city - the M1 and Pacific Highway - and with a regional airport (Newcastle Airport) located just 20 minutes drive from the CBD, and bus, train and taxi services throughout the city.
With extra trains, buses, ferries and light rail services running throughout the 3 day event, the easiest way to get to and from the Coates Hire Newcastle 500 is by public transport. Valid pre-purchased event tickets (single day or package types) include travel to and from Newcastle on public transport, even if you’re travelling from Sydney. Read the information below and visit transportnsw.info/events to plan your trip to the event.
Two park & ride facilities will operate to help you get to the circuit from Stockton and Broadmeadow. Fans can park at Stockton Wharf and catch the ferry across the Harbour to Queens Wharf, where Gates 1a and 1b access is a short walk away. Parking at Stockton is a gold coin donation – pay on the day.
Fans can also park at McDonald Jones (Hunter) Stadium and catch a shuttle bus leaving from Turton Rd outside the stadium to get within walking distance of the circuit. Shuttle buses start running from as early as 6.30am every 10 to 15 minutes, and return services run until 7pm on Friday, 11.30pm on Saturday and 8pm on Sunday. These shuttle buses will drop off and pick up from Honeysuckle Drive in Newcastle. From there, Gates 1a and 1b access is a 1.1km walk along the waterfront on Wharf Road.
Traffic is expected to be heavy on the Pacific Highway, M1 Motorway, Newcastle Road, Griffiths Road and Lambton Road approaching Newcastle before, during and after the event.
In addition to the regular timetable extra trains will run to help move crowds to and from Newcastle over the 3 days of the event, particularly in the early morning in time for race start and later in the evening to help fans get home. The closest station to the Coates Hire Newcastle 500 track is Newcastle Interchange on the Central Coast & Newcastle and Hunter Lines. From there, catch the light rail to Queens Wharf stop which is a short walk to Gates 1a & 1b or Gate 2 track entrances on Wharf Rd and Hunter St respectively.